Prospects for ultracold carbon via charge exchange reactions and laser cooled carbides
Strategies to produce an ultracold sample of carbon atoms are explored and assessed with the help of quantum chemistry. After a brief discussion of the experimental difficulties using conventional methods, two strategies are investigated. The first attempts to exploit charge exchange reactions between ultracold metal atoms and sympathetically cooled C+ ions. Ab initio calculations including electron correlation have been conducted on the molecular ions [LiC]+ and [BeC]+ to determine whether alkali or alkaline earth metals are a suitable buffer gas for the formation of C atoms but strong spontaneous radiative charge exchange ensure they are not ideal. The second technique involves the stimulated production of ultracold C atoms from a gas of laser cooled carbides. Calculations on LiC suggest that the alkali carbides are not suitable but the CH radical is a possible laser cooling candidate thanks to very favourable Frank-Condon factors. A scheme based on a four pulse STIRAP excitation pathway to a Feshbach resonance is outlined for the production of atomic fragments with near zero centre of mass velocity.